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5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Chris Noe

I probably feel the need for hundreds of albums in my life but I am going to justify these five albums as being the ones that forever belong in my heart and will always make themselves available to rescue my soul from pain and also provide a musical solace for me. The following five are the ultimate records that I felt the need to buy on CD or Vinyl at some point and play them numerous times (like thousands of times) to the point where they’re engraved in my brain. To know the essence of Chris Noe, you must surrender yourself to this music….


  1. The 1970’s were filled with great albums and musicians that rocked the airwaves. Among all of these great offerings by bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and The Who; I found myself drawn to Pink Floyd and their brilliant album Wish You Were Here. This one from 1975 is easily Pink Floyd’s best album. IMHO. When I say best I don’t mean it in terms of popularity or critical acclaim, that one belongs to Dark side of the Moon. But musically and lyrically it is the bands most accomplished piece of work.  This album is a great follow-up to Dark Side of the Moon. This is an often overlooked treasure within Pink Floyd’s music catalog. It has survived the test of time well and is finally receiving more attention it deserved when it was first released. At least I have noticed that. It is an essential Pink Floyd album and I mean no disrespect to “The Wall” which is when Roger Waters started to take over, but its the last great album the band produced. Wish You Were Here is very much dedicated to the founder Syd Barrett, who freaked out years before: and there’s funny songs about the evils of the music business (“By the way, which one’s Pink?”), and the touching ones about the band’s mysterious friend. The real star of the show, although, is the amazing production–with David Gilmour getting lots of room for his most creative guitar playing ever. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

2. I graduated from high school, was attending various graduation parties and this album was playing at one of them. It immediately grabbed my attention. The summer of 1994 I started to believe I was Trent Reznor. I loved his music featured in the films Natural Born Killers and The Crow. When I bought the cd, I listened to it on buses, car trips, in my college dorm and just simple walks around the neighborhood. I was absolutely OBSESSED!!!This album is considered Nine Inch Nails’ most controversial and disturbing work. They (He) completely change the image that was first seen on “Pretty Hate Machine” to something much darker and emotional. The result is a very successful and complex masterpiece that takes you to places you have never been in the music world. With each track you step in further and further into Reznor’s mind. “The Downward Spiral” is an outstanding album and will always remain a classic.
The songs are much more complex and have more structure to them than the ones that appear on “Pretty Hate Machine” and “Broken.” There are heavy songs, and there are soft songs. There are disturbing songs, and there are beautiful songs. You get to experience something different with each song.
The great thing about this album is, just like with any other NIN album, no two songs are the same. Each one has its own identity and feeling to it. Another plus is that there is not a single bad song on the entire album. My favorites are “mr. self destruct,” “march of the pigs,” “closer,” “the becoming,” “a warm place,” “eraser,” “I do not want this,” “ruiner,” and “hurt.” I might as well say ALL OF THEM!!! LOL
“The Downward Spiral” is an amazing album. Reznor knows how to make great music and continues to impress us even to this day. Be warned, though. This album isn’t for everyone. It is indeed a very controversial and even sometimes offensive album. But if you love Nine Inch Nails, then this is a must-have. It is a CD I continue to listen to over and over again. It never ceases to amaze me. A classic to the very end.


3. So I have a guy named Matt to thank for getting me into the band Tool. In high school he would periodically loan me tapes to listen to. When I first heard the album Undertow, my life changed. Flash forward to the year 2001. The album Lateralus is released during a time when our country was invaded by terrorists. However, I was personally moved and deeply touched by Maynard and the gang in a very positive way.

Everything about Tool’s third album is an experience, starting with the packaging, which consists of liner credits printed on a translucent plastic sleeve over the CD and a booklet that layers anatomical representations atop one another. The first page pictures musculature and blood vessels; the next, bones; the third, internal organs; and so on. It’s worth describing the packaging of Lateralus because it says much about the astonishing music within.

With Lateralus, Tool have raised an already lofty bar still higher by coming up with a collection that reaches amazing heights. Lateralus, like I said was released in 2001, it has got to be one of the more groundbreaking musical releases since the mid-80’s and early 90’s. Lateralus is a long, well thought out musical masterpiece that draws parallels to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” This whole record is just full of amazing progressive rock and it is nearly impossible to fathom that human beings actually wrote and then performed this type of music. Every song has layers and sub-layers and sub-sub-layers.

You do not listen to this album…you surrender yourself to it. The experience of Lateralus penetrates deeper than the brain — it is deeply spiritual and uplifting. Nothing comes close to obsessing my world of the first decade of the 2000’s like this one.


4. I was a Senior in High School in 1993 when this glorious record came out! Everything fell into its right place with this one. Gish was stunning! But Siamese Dream was a masterpiece!!!

Every artist has their “crowning achievement”

I think Smashing Pumpkins were one of the greatest rock bands of the 90’s, easily.

Billy Corgan has been one of my favorite guitarists. His work on the studio albums Gish, Siamese Dream and even Mellon Collie (1995) is brilliant, layering guitar upon guitar with brilliant riffs and awesome solos.

His lyrics are often depressed and angry, but they show hope and beauty too. Lyrics aren’t usually as important to me as music, but Billy Corgan writes good ones, in my opinion. For a rock star, he surprises me with the kind of songwriting talent.
“Cherub Rock” opens up with a distinguishing drum roll followed by simple clean guitar playing the main riff. Within less than a minute, a wall of guitars is hitting you, but it’s still extremely listenable. The melodies of this song are awesome, and I’d bet you’ve heard it on the radio.

“Quiet” is an assault of layered metal riffs. “Today” is another radio song. It’s one of the weaker songs on the whole, but I think it’s still pretty nice and ironically a lot of people’s favorite song.

“Hummer” is nearly 7 minutes long, with several different parts and great textures and melodies. “Disarm” is a beautiful acoustic guitar and vocal track, with strings added (that are good and not cheesy).

“Soma” starts with a peaceful clean guitar riff, but explodes into a wall of distorted guitars and wild leads. I still pull out my acoustic guitar once in a while and play the tabs to this one.

“Geel U.S.A.” is one of the best rockers, and one of the most layered. I don’t know how many guitars are in this song, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than 12 or so. Think My Bloody Valentine-esque The solo is wildly energetic, and the metal riffs are awesome.

“Mayonaise” is gorgeous and noisy at the same time. It’s my personal favorite.

There are no bad songs. Or else it wouldn’t be on my list. Duh!!!
When I first got into the Pumpkins back in 1991, I didn’t like Billy Corgan’s voice that much, but I grew to really appreciate it. The wall of sound created by Billy Corgan’s guitars combined with his original voice and songwriting is also backed up by the experienced drumming of Jimmy Chamberlain. He used to be in a jazz band apparently, and the guy definitely knows what he’s doing.
James Iha and D’Arcy are respectively great rhythm and bass guitarists as well but they are unfortunately known more for their live contributions because Billy tended to prefer taking over in the studio. This was always the one controversial fact about the pumpkins.

If you want my opinion (I guess you do, if you’ve read this far), this is one of the best rock albums of the 90’s, and you should buy it. Highly recommended. 

5. Funny story about this one. My mom and dad found this laying around, shortly after I bought it. They listened to it (well parts of it) and glanced at the lyrics and album cover and hated it. They threw it in the trash and did NOT want me to have it. Somehow I acquired it again and still kept listening to it. I think they wanted to make sure that I didn’t get influenced by Satan, or whatever! LOL

My friend Jason and I were hanging out at the mall and went into a Sam Goody Record store. We each picked out a cd. This was the one I bought. I initially was attracted to the cover. I too was attracted to the lyrics I read in the sleeve. I couldn’t wait to go home and listen to it.

This is definitely one of the best metal albums of all time and should be on anyone’s top ten list of all time. Megadeth has not produced a CD of this greatness before or since. Don’t interpret this as not liking their other stuff. But this is the first one I tend to pull out to listen to in its entirety. The guitar playing and Dave Mustaine’s growling voice just don’t get any better. My ultimate favorite songs are “The Conjuring” and “Bad Omen”.

Even the cover art is awesome and puts forward the premise of “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying”. This one along with Metallica’s “Ride The Lightening” sums up the state of today’s world.

If you’re a metal head, this CD is a must buy!!! That’s all….carry on. 🙂

btw……I think my parents will forgive me on this one 🙂


Okay so there you have it. records i cant live without because we have history together and i am addicted to their sounds.

By christophernoe

Writer, Poet and Music geek

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